Just found this site which expands a bit on friendship, popularity and peer acceptance.
What are peer relationships and friendship?
Peer acceptance represents social status or popularity within a large group, whereas friendships represent relationships based on mutual respect, appreciation, and liking. Early adolescence is a time characterized by friendships that share more common feelings and are more supportive than when children are younger (Buhrmester & Furman, 1987). At the same time, youth who have more mutual friends (i.e., individuals with a similar degree of affection for one another) are more likely to be accepted by their larger peer group (George & Hartmann, 1996; Parker & Asher, 1993).
Peer acceptance and friendships are distinct constructs and contribute to youth development. Peer acceptance has been shown to be associated with greater feelings of belonging (Brown & Lohr, 1987) and fewer behavioral problems in youth (Coie, Terry, Lenox, Lochman, & Hyman, 1995), whereas, friendships have been shown to directly influence feelings of loneliness (Bukowski, Hoza, & Boivin, 1993). However, both peer acceptance and friendships similarly provide youth with self-esteem and improved psychological adjustment (Parker & Asher, 1993).
Taken From - Jin Yu,J., Tepper, K. H. & Russell, S. T. (2007). Peer relationships and friendships. http://cals-cf.calsnet.arizona.edu/fcs/content.cfm?content=peer_rel